Cheers for royal birth as fans remember Diana

2nd May 2015, Comments 0 comments

Well-wishers erupted in cheers outside a London hospital on Saturday after Prince William's wife Kate gave birth to a princess as tourists crowded outside Buckingham Palace to read the formal announcement.

The news of the royal family's latest arrival was read out by a traditional town crier with a bell on the steps of the Lindo Wing of St Mary's hospital where Kate was admitted earlier Saturday.

And the crowds were treated to a rare glimpse of Prince George, who arrived later in William's arms to meet his new little sister.

"What an amazing day!" Sadie Moran, a 45-year-old wrapped in a British Union Jack flag, told AFP.

"It's like a memory of princess Diana," said Moran, referring to William's late mother, who died in a car crash in 1997 and is still much-loved in Britain.

Diana gave birth to William and his brother Harry in the same clinic and many accounts of her life have described how she also yearned for a daughter.

Several hundred supporters turned out and there were screams as Prince William stepped out from the hospital after the birth, mouthing "very happy" when asked how his wife and daughter were.

He later returned with the couple's son George who waved to the crowd in a flurry of camera flashes.

Michelle Lassiter, a charity worker who travelled from the town of Guildford near London had been waiting from the early morning in a fold-up chair.

"It's fabulous news, it's a girl! And born so quickly! It's wonderful news," the 55-year-old said.

"I've been on standby all week just in case!"

Lassiter said that her family and friends thought she was "batty", but added: "It's history in the making."

Terry Hutt, an 80-year-old in a suit decorated in the colours of the British Union Jack flag, was one of around a dozen royalists who have remained camped out outside the hospital for nearly two weeks.

"I'm very happy for them... Diana would be proud, very very proud," he said.

Margaret Tyler, 71, who wore a Union Jack jacket with a Diana badge pinned on the lapel, also remembered the late princess of Wales.

"William wanted a girl and Diana wanted a girl," she said.

As a bookmaker walked past with a board showing Alice was the odds on favourite for the baby's name, 82-year-old Josie Rosa said: "Alice is an old fashioned name, that's my mum's name."

Her niece Karen Reardon, 51, replied: "Well they've got to have old fashioned, haven't they? They're not going to call her Gucci are they, or Chanel?"

- 'Everybody is buzzing' -

Ahead of the announcement, Davina Johnson, 34, a new mother, came out of the clinic into the street in her slippers and dressing gown, wearing the plastic hospital tag on her wrist.

"They came to do the ward rounds this morning and said 'Kate's here'. So I rushed down," said Johnson, who has been in the central London hospital for the past week after giving birth prematurely.

"The other mums are just as excited as I am. The maternity ward is packed to capacity. Everybody is talking about it. Everybody is buzzing about it."

"We share the same midwives and, although they're all very professional, I bet they're hoping to be on that shift," she said.

A proclamation of the birth signed by the royal doctors was placed on an easel outside Buckingham Palace in front of hundreds of tourists who had come to witness the daily Changing of the Guard.

Tourists queued up to see the announcement close up, with several seen taking selfies of themselves in front of the easel.

"It's an unforgettable day in my life" said Joy Buttinger, a nurse living in Austria who was on holiday with her 18-year-old daughter.

Lydia Wilkins, a Canadian now living in Bristol in southwest England, said: "She's our princess. Congratulations from Canada."

Nearby Marwa ElBestany, who teaches science in Egypt, said: "I immediately called my children, my mother."

US pensioner Jewell Villa, who was in London only for a day on a stopover from a sea journey on board the Queen Mary II, could not believe her luck.

"It couldn't be a better day! I thought she'd better have the baby today. I'm here for one day.

"My wish has been fulfilled."

© 2015 AFP

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